Dowson is no stranger to multi-tasking with his career, having first entered into the business world while still at former club Newcastle Falcons. But in the past couple of years this has stepped up several notches, with Dowson now managing director at Nth Degree Imaging as well as taking to the field in black, green and gold most weekends.
“Rugby isn't going to last forever,” he says in this week’s Saints podcast. “There are only so many jobs in coaching, agencies and punditry so you have to have a back-up plan.
“Secondly, you have a lot of time in the day in which to be productive, whether that’s your education or getting stuck in to a business, trying to find out what you do want to do after rugby. I think that it is very healthy in giving you the realisation of how lucky you are to play rugby and how great a life it is. You’re living the dream and sometimes you forget that with results like the Sale game and injury and goodness knows what else.
“Having a foot in the real world gives you that option to say actually, I am really going to enjoy my rugby. It keeps you mentally fresh when you have to think of other things as well so there’s lots of positive things to take out of it.”
While Nth Degree Imaging is predominantly a print supplies and consumables business, it has recently diversified into augmented reality, 3D printing and working with outlets in using iBeacons as a marketing tool.
Dowson says that fellow directors Ian Prosser and Matthew Crowther are supportive of his rugby, commenting: “My business partners have said that rugby comes first. If I'm missing training or anything like that then I'm not doing my fundamental job, so rugby comes first regardless.
“There’s two sides to the business, the traditional side, which is the print, and the digital side which is very exciting stuff and something which I’m really enjoying. We’re obviously trying to forge new links and customers in the print world and are getting to work with all sorts of different brands. We got to do a job for Carlsberg through their sponsorship with the club, so it’s quite cool to try different things and trying to work out where the opportunities are for my business and directors.”
But while he is supportive of the various initiatives in encouraging rugby players to develop careers or education outside the sport, such as the Rugby Business Network or those run by the Rugby Players’ Association, Dowson also says that the players themselves have to buy into what they do.
“It all has to be player led,” he says. “You’ve got to be interested in it to make it work. I think it is all pretty positive, the players are aware of it, it’s just taking that next step to initiate it. Here at the Saints there are lots of guys interested in different things and I think it’s a very positive thing to encourage.”
Dowson also talks about the transferrable skills between rugby and the business world, how he got into his ‘other’ career, and whether it is harder giving a presentation to rugby players or businesspeople in this week’s official Saints podcast, which can be downloaded or streamed for FREE on any device at www.soundcloud.com/official-saints-rugby
For more information about Nth Degree Imaging head to www.nthdegreeimaging.com